"Broken heart syndrome": catecholamine surge or aborted myocardial infarction?
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also called transient left ventricular apical ballooning or "broken heart syndrome", is a cardiac condition that mimics the clinical presentation of acute coronary syndrome but without any evidence of obstructive atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. An episode of intense emotional or physiologic stress, serving as the nidus for a catecholamine surge, has been reported prior to presentation and is presumed to be the triggering factor playing the pathogenic role. We report a unique case of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy without any known precipitating factors. After reviewing multiple case reports and review articles, the evidence supporting a "catecholamine surge" is empirically plausible; however, our case calls this theory into question. The "aborted MI" hypothesis is more convincing as an all-inclusive nidus for the pathogenesis and clinical presentation described in Takotsubo syndrome. More detailed studies and research are needed to ascertain the pathogenesis and optimal management of this syndrome.
Published In/Presented At
Khallafi, H., Chacko, V., Varveralis, N., & Elmi, F. (2008). "Broken heart syndrome": catecholamine surge or aborted myocardial infarction?. The Journal of invasive cardiology, 20(1), E9–E13.
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Medicine, Cardiology Division